Dominant Worksop Town strike blow to title rivals Shaw Lane who end game with nine men

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Worksop Town struck what could be a decisive blow in the title race, outplaying vastly experienced rivals Shaw Lane Aquaforce in a 3-0 win.

The fact that the Barnsley side ended the game with nine men through a lack of composure shouldn’t overshadow a dominant Tigers performance.

It wasn’t until the second half that James Cotterill took the game’s first red, and Aquaforce had not mustered a single shot on goal before then.

Joe Thornton was also sent off, for kicking out, after Worksop had taken an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Tigers almost had the dream start, Andrew Ofosu steal in shooting onto the far post.

Worksop looked dangerous, Ofosu flicking on for Conor Higginson who sliced his cross out of play.

Ofosu came close again, getting to the ball ahead of Gathercole but failing to keep his shot on target.

The big striker should have made it 1-0 when a mistake let him go clear and with only Gathercole to beat he saw his shot saved brilliantly.

A minute later Ofosu made amends, winning a corner that then reached him at the back post, and although Gathercole made an initial save, Jake Scott hammered in the opener.

It could have got even better, Higginson getting free at the far post and crossing for Ofosu who stretched but couldn’t connect.

Shaw Lane’s only real chance came when a corner was missed by Jon Stewart and looked likely to be headed home by Andrew Fox, who got underneath the ball.

Sam Liversidge, who had picked up the first yellow of the game for a lunge, was the recipient of the tackle that brought Shaw Lane’s first caution, Fox going in late.

It was unfortunately a sign of what was to come, in an explosive start to the second half.

Chris White took a swipe at Wafula and saw yellow, and a minute later Cotterill went through Liversidge and couldn’t believe his eyes when the red card came out.

On the hour mark things looked very rosy for the hosts, Ofosu knocking the ball over the top for Higginson who dispossessed David Haggerty, beat the defender again and stroked home.

And Shaw Lane lost it completely on 63 minutes, Thornton kicking out at Wafula with play stopped, rightly sent to the changing room.

Captain Steve Istead couldn’t help but show his frustration, smashing the ball away after conceding a throw in to earn another caution.

Istead was walking a tightrope when he left a foot in on Higginson, and reacted angrily to the Worksop player going down, the referee showing mercy.

Worksop then took the sting out of the game with patient passing play, and replaced Sellars and Tom Burgin with Jack Hawkins and debutant Connor Johnson.

Stoppage time brought the icing on the cake for Worksop’s youngsters, Higginson slipping the ball through for Elliott who held off a defender and nutmegged his former team-mate Gathercole to cap a fine afternoon for the majority of the 505 in attendance.

Worksop Town: Stewart 7, Wafula 6, Roe 7, Henshaw 8, Liversidge 8 (Cottingham 70), Burgin 8 (Johnson 87), Sellars 6 (Hawkins 80), SCOTT 8, Higginson 7, Ofosu 7, Elliott 7. Not used: Whincop, Jordan.

Shaw Lane: Gathercole, Stohrer, O’Brien, Istead, Haggerty, Cotterill, Thornhill (Darley 54), Fox, Thornton, Morris (Holt 67), White (Kelsey 54). Not used: Patterson, Denton.

Referee: Mr P. Thompson. Assistants: Mr R. Reese, Mr S. Abbott.

Goalscorers: Scott 18, Higginson 60, Elliott 90.

Yellows: Liversidge 36, Higginson 60; Fox 41, White 48, Darley 62, Istead 69, Kelsey 90.

Red: Cotterill 49, Thornton 63.

Attendance: 505.